Stepping up for the community: restoration works at West Bromwich nature reserve

West Bromwich company Jacopa has given something back to its local community by working with Sandwell Council to restore steps at Sot’s Hole local nature reserve. 

The park’s well-trodden steps had started to show their age and were desperately in need of being refreshed. Jacopa provided staff to help restore the steps to their original condition free of charge as part of the Community Social Responsibility/ Social Value programme. 

Sandwell Council arranged materials for the work, supported by the Countryside Ranger Team, and organised assistance from volunteers. 

With over five hectares of some of the oldest woodland in the borough, Sot’s Hole is important for wildlife, geology and education. A stream flows through the site and a small pool has recently been created. 

The wet woodland supports a variety of tree species, plants – including water horsetail and marsh thistle – and a range of woodland bird species, such as sparrowhawks and great spotted woodpeckers, as well as many other woodland creatures. 

Close to Dagger Lane and Church Vale in West Bromwich, the semi-ancient woodland provides excellent access to Sandwell Valley Country Park and the restored steps form part of this route. 

With its head office at Millard Industrial Estate in West Bromwich, Jacopa was ideally situated to support the project. 

Jacopa is a major provider of municipal wastewater solutions, combining over 200 years of heritage with innovation. The company keeps wastewater treatment plants performing across the UK and Ireland and tries to continuously improve its business processes and products to serve its customers optimally. 

It is also committed to excellence in health and safety, and to outstanding environmental performance. 

Alex Lloyd of Jacopa said: “Jacopa is very pleased to support this project to improve green spaces for the local community and work closely with Sandwell Council.  

“Our business has been located within the Sandwell community for many years, we are an environmental company helping to protect the UK’s natural water resources and most of the people who work for the business live in the Sandwell area. So, this and future green spaces projects, fit very well with the support Jacopa can give its local community.” 

Councillor Maria Crompton, cabinet member for strong and resilient communities, said: “Jacopa’s role has been key in restoring the steps at Sot’s Hole. Visitors to the Local Nature Reserve will now have better access to the wider country park from this popular site. The steps provide the only access into the country park from the Local Nature Reserve, giving visitors the opportunity to explore wonderful open areas of countryside.”  

Council Leader Rajbir Singh said: “I hope that this joint approach will inspire other local companies looking to give something back to communities across Sandwell. The restoration of the steps at Sot’s Hole is a great example of how Sandwell Council is bringing partners together to support environmental issues and create a safer, cleaner and greener borough. 

“With the commitment and effort from Jacopa’s staff and management we have enhanced this valued green space for local people and visitors, so that they can enjoy the experiences provided by the Local Nature Reserve and Sandwell Valley Country Park.” 

The work on the steps took place over three days in May, with all volunteers observing current Covid-19 guidelines. 


[Image shows left to right: Jason Wood (Jacopa), Matt Darby (Operational Manager Parks and Countryside Sandwell Council), Tom Willis (Jacopa), and Tom Willis (Jacopa)].